Jan Björklund was today, as expected, elected new leader for Folkpartiet. Bjorklund succeeds Lars Leijonborg who steps down after ten years as party chairman.
Jan Björklund, Partychairman and Minister for Schools (Photo: Pawel Flato)
Leijonborgs position in the party was undermined by a scandal that exploded only two weeks before the general election last year. A man employed by the party’s youth organisation, LUF, had got hands of a password to the internal computer network of the Social democratic party and done several log ins. The tracks led all the way to the leadership of the party itself and one of the top figures had to step down. The discussion was about who knew what, and how the obtained information had been used.
Leijonborg was one of the prime architects behind the image change of Folkapartiet from a social liberal party that focused on issues like development aid and the situation for disabled people to a more right wing position with focus on obligations and law and order. This has not been popular in all party districts. One common criticism against Leijonborg has been that the party has been ran by very few peple without influence from the rest of the organisation.
Lars Leijonborg, Miniser for Research and former party chairman (Photo: Pawel Flato)
Leijonborg has been party chairman during three elections. In 1998 they almost fell out from parliament, obtaining only 4.7 percent of the voters. (The minimum percentage o get represented in parliament is four percent). In 2002 they had adopted the new right wing image witch gave them 13.3 percent. The most famous proposal during that election campaign was to make a Swedish language test compulsory for those who applies for Swedish citizenship. In last years election they fell to 7.5 percent, one more reson for Leijonorg’s opponents to see their chance.
Björklund has been vice chairman during ten years so it has yet to be seen weather the appointment will lead to a change in policy. Leijonborg will remain in the government as Minister for research but has to leave the topposition on the department to Björklund.